Perimenopause and the pills that saved lives…..

I have entered into perimenopause with all of the FUN and JOY that brings  (PLEASE note my keyboard is dripping with sarcasm)……I started having symptoms last year on my 46 birthday. Yes, that is true!  The week I turned 46 my period was late and late and late.  I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so I knew I was beginning to go through THE CHANGE OF LIFE….      (insert scary scream here).

I went to my doctor to find out what I could/should do, and her answer was to carry plenty of feminine hygiene products and a spare pair of undies in case my cycle suddenly starts.  REALLY?  Years and years of medical school and that is the best answer??  Don’t get me wrong, I love my doctor.  She is brilliant. Which is why I was so dumbstruck by her response.

So I searched the  internet to find an herbal remedy that might help with all of my PMS type symptoms and help my estrogen level increase.  Nothing.
Then I went to my local Vitamin Shoppe and spent at least 30 minutes in the “Womens Health” section looking at every single bottle of menopausal relief pills and reading the ingredients until I found a bottle that had high quantities of al of the things I was looking for:  Black Cohosh, Dong Quai, and Chaste berry.  I looked and looked and finally found a product called Mensosense.

I started taking it and felt much much better within a few days…  I started taking two pills a day and it kept my cycle regular and my perimenopausal symptoms normalized.  That means I no longer felt like stabbing people all the time.
Since starting the Mensosense I only wanted to stab people once a week or so instead of every 15 minutes.  I also stopped sobbing all the time.  I tell you perimenopause is a BITCH!  One minute you are sobbing, the next you are so mad you want to choke someone.  Your cycle is late or nonexistent, OR you spot bleed for two weeks.  At night you have insomnia and night sweats, and during the day you have hot flashes, (What I call personal summers).  I truly believe if men had to go through Menopause we would either have it cured by now, or the retirement age would be 50!!

I was taking the pills, and doing fine.  The trouble came when I was almost out, and the closest Vitamin Shoppe was 30 minutes from my house. I will tell you that I knew I needed a refill because during the time after I bought them I did miss taking them a few times.  After three days of not taking them, I knew for sure that I needed them because I spent the day alternately crying or wanting to kill people. My kids even started asking me if I had missed taking my pills if I seemed crabbier than usual. It was then I knew I was completely hooked on Mensosense…..and needed my pills like a caffeine junkie needs coffee…..wait, I need caffeine too.

My new best friends!

So I needed to buy more pills, but didn’t want to drive the 45 minutes to Virginia Beach to get some. Then I had a brilliant idea! Where I live there has been quite a bit of retail development and a GNC store opened up recently.  I thought, “I will just pop over to the GNC store and see if they carry Mensosense”.  I went over to the NewYorican’s house, and bribed her to come with me by promising I would take her to lunch.  After all, what are BFF’s for??  So she came with me, and off to GNC we went…….

The NewYorRican wanted to wait in the car, so I parked and walked into the GNC.  Upon entering I noticed there were two men working.  Interestingly they were not young muscle bound men, but middle aged paunchy men.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not discriminating. I myself am a bit paunchy, and I am also middle aged.  I am merely pointing out that usually at GNC stores you see youngish people who look like they work out and use the products sold in the store.

I will admit that it is possible that underneath the gray sweater vest and cardigans, these two dudes were muscle bound and extremely fit, but my first impression was that there were not…just sayin’.

If the GNC dudes looked like this I might have been having fun!!

I walked over to the women’s health area, trying to be inconspicuous, however since I was the only customer, one of them saw me and swept in like a hawk for a kill:

He, (AKA Sweater Vest Dude):  “Can I help you ma’am?”
Me:  “Yes, I am looking for a product called Mensosense.”
He:  “Mensosense??  What kind of product is that?”
Me: (squirming a bit) “It is a product to help with perimenopausal symptoms.”
He:  “Hmmm, I don’t know if we carry that.”  Then he hollers across the store, “Hey Mike, do we carry something called Mensosense??  It is for Menopause type symptoms.”

At this point I am VERY sorry I walked into the GNC, and even more sorry I need the pills because I have been off them for two days and am a bit twitchy and agitated.  Not good for Mike and Sweater Vest Dude.  Mike proceeds to call someone (YAY, let’s get even MORE people involved in my health issues…..) I hear him saying, “Yes Mensosense, it is for menopause symptoms.”  I spell it for him “M-E-N-S-O-S-E-N-S-E-.”

Sweater Vest Dude is standing next to me, and he proceeds to grab a GNC product off the shelf and says, “Well, this is a GNC product for menopausal symptoms.”

Okay, now I am starting to feel really twitchy…… hellooooo, you can’t just use ANYTHING!!

Me: “Well, I spent 30 minutes looking at every bottle and reading the ingredients in the store where I bought them. Mensosense has the most milligrams and the most variety of different herbs that help stop perimenopausal symptoms.”

Sweater Vest Dude is looking at me like I have just spoken in a foreign language, which apparently I have.  Meanwhile Mike has concluded his conversation with the person on the phone and walks over and says, “No, I am sorry we don’t carry that product.”  No shit sherlock….

Me:  “Yes, I can see that.  It is made in Canada, so it needs to be imported.”

Sweater Vest Dude: “Oh, well that explains why we don’t carry it.”  Of course he said it in that sing song voice you use when trying to convey something to a kindergartener…..twitch….twitch…twitch.

Me: (Trying to ease my anxiety and lighten the mood) “Well, I guess I will just have to drive back out to Virginia Beach to get some.  I need them.  They keep me from stabbing people.” I smile and laugh……..

Dead silence.  The dudes don’t smile.  They don’t laugh.  Apparently Sweater Vest Dude and Mike don’t find me or my perimenopausal symptoms amusing.
I leave and run out to the car where the NewYorican is waiting.  I tell her my story and she starts laughing so hard she is crying.  She: “Did you really tell them you would stab people?”  Me: “Well, yes, but I don’t think they understood that I was joking. I am not sure they believed that.”  She: “They probably locked the door after you left, and are waiting for you to leave the parking lot before they will unlock it”

She then proceeded to pull put her iPhone and in true BFF fashion found me a Vitamin Shoppe closer to us than Virginia Beach, and offered to go with me to get some more Mensosense.  I guess she thought her NewYorican ass could keep me from killing people….

My BFF the NewYorRican and her youngest.

That is a true BFF.  Someone who will ride as a passenger with a twitchy, agitated, herb deprived woman to the store to get more pills for her perimenopausal symptoms.

Needless to say I did get more pills.  I bought two bottles, and will find out how to order them online so I can have them delivered directly to my door.  Thank the Goddess for internet shopping and thank the Goddess for Mensosense!!!!

I hate when people judge my parenting decisions!

I have read so many blog posts about “The Hunger Games” lately.  Parents talking about why they don’t want their children to see the movie.  Some talking about not allowing their children to read the book.  They feel it is not appropriate for their children.  As if they somehow feel the need to apologize for making a decision they feel is best for their own kids.  Concerned about being judged by other parents as “too conservative” or not “with the times”.  Then there is the other side of the coin.  Parents who feel they have to explain why they DID allow their children to read the book or see the movie.  They worry about judgement for seeming too “permissive” or not caring about the scars their kids might get from the message of the books or the violence.

I have a difficult time with both of these points of view.  Not because I think there is a correct age or time for a child to see a particular kind of movie or read a particular book.  Not even because I disagree with the message or storyline of the book and/or movie.  (By the way I just finished reading The Hunger Games, and have not yet seen the movie).

The problem I have with those two trains of thought is why the parents even feel the need to explain their decisions to every one else.  I am of the opinion that 7 out of every 10 people are reasonable, intelligent, caring individuals, with the other 3 being the jerks in this world.  That being said, why should the 7 reasonable, caring and intelligent people feel as if they have to justify or explain their decisions or actions regarding their children?  Especially since they are probably explaining it to the other 3…the unreasonable, uncaring and unintelligent people.

The parents who need to justify and explain their actions are the ones who neglect, physically, emotionally or sexually abuse their children.  They are comprised of the 3.  The other 7 are making a decision regarding the things they think are appropriate for their children in a thoughtful and meaningful way.  That is not to say that every decision they make will be the right decision.  Parenting is fraught with mistakes and learning curves.  There is no manual that a person gets to help them when they become a parent, and even if you did get a manual with your first child, you would need to toss it in the trash when the second child comes.  Each child is unique and what works for one child won’t work for another child.

For example, my oldest, Joe Cool, was a very easy baby and toddler.  He listened and responded very well to time out and removal of toys as discipline.  I can still discipline him by taking away his toys (now a cell phone and PS3 instead of legos and trucks), and I can still “get” to his conscience by letting him know I am disappointed in him.  I thought I had this baby/toddler thing mastered and then came along my second child, The Genius. COMPLETELY different in every way shape and form from his older brother.  Time outs and taking things away didn’t phase him in the least.

I had to use physical discipline with him, and even then he would act as if he was going to do as he pleased.  I am not proud of using physical punishment on him, but it was my last resort, and the only thing that worked.  However, since I am one of the 7, I know I did the best I could, and I knew the most appropriate way to discipline my kids.  Even now The Genius will try to argue, cajole, redirect and excuse his behavior.  I no longer have to use physical discipline, as he is 12 now and removing computer time works best.  But he is very different from his brother in many ways.  He is definitely the more sensitive and considerate brother, while the older one is more musically inclined and has an amazing sense of humor.  I love them both tremendously, and I STILL know what is best for my boys.

I used to feel as if I had to explain my actions and motives regarding my decisions about my kids, but no longer.  They are pretty awesome people, and I know that the only person that knows them better than themselves….. is me.  I know what makes them tick, what motivates them, what they are afraid of and what they want from life.  I know their hearts and most of the time I know their minds.

My point is that I want those of us parents who are part of the 7…….the people who are reasonable, caring and intelligent….to own that we are part of the 7, and know within ourselves, that we do not need to justify or explain our decisions regarding our children to anyone besides our partners, ourselves and (sometimes) our kids.

So if you want your kids to see a movie or read a book, (or not), it is your decision to make.  If you think they should r should not attend a party or a school dance, or a movie or a football game, that is a parents choice as well. So decide, and own that decision knowing that you are always trying to do the best for your children.

(This is a repost of a blog previously posted on The Next Family)

My son thinks his Gay mom is Cool!!

When I first started dating my lovely partner Karol, we had to keep everything a secret.  First of all, she was still in the military and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was alive and well.  Plus I had just gotten divorced and was unwilling to let my children know I was in a relationship with her.  They knew we were best friends, and I decided to leave it at that.

Then we bought a house together and we decided it was best for each of us to have our own bedroom.  She was about to retire, but I had not yet “told” my kids and she had not told hers.  We did sleep together most nights, but actually lived in our own bedrooms for the most part.  It was an interesting time.  Neither of us was “out” professionally but we were to our close friends.  Looking back on it I think we were crazy, but it worked at the time, and I suppose it made things easier for the children to get used to living with new people.

We decided after living together for a year we would tell the children that we were actually a couple.  Of course they all said, “Um, we have known forever Mom.”  They were okay with me being in a relationship with a woman, and that made me happy.  We had actually prepared ourselves for the worst and realized we may need to sell our house and live apart if our kids freaked out.  Our number one priority was the children and how they would feel about our relationship.

Because I had been in a “traditional” marriage when my children were young I never forced the issue about them saying anything to any adults or their friends.  I always introduced Bluebell as my “friend”, and they did the same.  They called her “my mom’s friend” if talking about her to others.

At some point my oldest son (age 15 now) began telling people his mom was “bi”.  Apparently people his age thought that was cool and I scored him some “cool points”.  I suppose technically I am “bi” in his mind since I was married to his dad and am now with a woman.  I don’t consider myself bisexual. I consider myself a lesbian, but I never pushed that issue with my son.  Whatever he was comfortable with worked for me.

My son is now in 10th grade and is very comfortable with Bluebell and with our relationship.

However, I was still surprised when she came to me a few weeks ago and brought me a paper that I saw had my son’s handwriting on it.  “Uh oh”, I said.  “Is this going to be bad?”  She said, “Just read it.”  She had seen this paper lying on the dining room table near my son’s book bag and picked it up and read it.  I held it in my hand and braced myself.

He had an assignment to write about himself and his family for his English class.  In his own handwriting I read, “I found out a few years ago my mom is in a same gendered relationship.  I think that is cool. My mom is cool.”

I cried tears of joy.  My son thinks I am cool! That is a pretty amazing thing for a mom of a teenager to be considered cool by her kid!

My son thinks I am cool!!!